The Secret to Getting Baby to Sleep Through the Night

how to get baby to sleep through the night -

Now, I know it might not work for everyone, but I wanted to share the secret to getting my babies to sleep through the night.

Let’s back up for a second. I have two kids, and both started STTN (sleeping through the night) when they were around 2 months old. They were also both (almost) exclusively breastfed. And “almost” is the keyword, because that is where the secret lies.

I truly believe that the secret to getting my babies to sleep through the night was this:

With both of my babies, we started giving them a bottle once a day for their last feeding before bedtime. We started this when both of our babies were about 3 weeks old and we knew they had learned to latch well and I felt confident in our breastfeeding relationship. However, we made sure my husband (or someone other than myself) was always the one to feed the bottle, so that it didn’t interfere with our breastfeeding journey or cause any kind of confusion.

Here are the reasons we did this and why I think it helped my babies sleep through the night:

  1. It allowed other people the chance to feed the baby. This was important for us so that we could leave the baby with a babysitter if needed, or if there was ever an emergency and I had to be gone for more than a couple hours, the baby could still easily be fed.
  2. It allowed my husband a chance to “bond” with our kids early on.
  3. It gave me a little “break” from the ’round the clock nursing sessions. We could easily pack the kids up in the evening and go out to dinner or to an event and not have to worry about nursing midway through because we would just pack a bottle.
  4. I had heard someone say that if you want to get your baby to sleep longer stretches at night, then you should fill them up during the day as much as possible. So by giving my babies a bottle right before bed, we could see exactly how many ounces they were drinking, and we could really fill them up compared to how many ounces they’d likely get from me. For example, both of my babies started out drinking about 3-4 ounces per night in the bottle. From there, they gradually increased, until by 6 months they were both drinking 11-12 ounces each night before bed! Now, I’m not certain, but I am pretty sure that is WAY more than they would have gotten from me had I nursed them instead. I truly believe that this larger meal is what helped them stop waking as frequently throughout the night for feedings and was the secret to getting them to sleep from night until morning!

Logistically, it was pretty easy to do as well. While my husband fed the bottle each night, I would pump. Then, I would pump one more time right before I went to bed, and those two pumping sessions were usually enough for the bottle the next night. This also helped make sure I didn’t wake up engorged once the babies started sleeping longer stretches.

While I do think the bottle was key, I think there are a few other things that played into our babies nighttime sleep habits as well:

  1. I am one of those sleep nazis. I am a firm believer in early bedtimes to avoid letting your baby get overtired. Both of my kids (age 2 and 8 months) go to bed at 7pm (if not sooner when we have a busy day).
  2. We started a “routine” early on, to try and help baby learn the difference between night and day, and nap time versus bedtime. Here is what our routine looked like: All lights off in nursery besides one lamp. Change diaper and put on pajamas. Pray. Turn the light off and a fan on. Lay baby in crib and say “night, night.” Although minor, over time, these small things signaled to my baby that it was bedtime. As my kids get older, we add in brushing teeth, a story, etc.
  3. We loosely use Babywise to get baby used to a routine, meaning I follow the “eat, play, sleep” routine during the day.
  4. I used this chart as a guide for wake times between naps during the day to avoid letting baby get overtired, which would result in poor nighttime sleep.

Remember that STTN means different things to different people. For me, it meant my babies slept from 7pm to 5-5:30am, until about 6 months when they eventually made it from 7pm to 7am. And if this trick works for your baby, that’s fantastic. And if not, that’s ok too! It doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong! Every baby is so different and we really can’t compare our kids to anyone else’s. Some babies just need those extra feedings or snuggle time at night. And I know, you’re tired, but this won’t last forever, I promise.

And I would love to know, do you have any secrets of your own that helped your baby sleep better? Leave your tips and tricks in the comments below for any tired mamas out there who could use the extra Z’s! Or feel free to pin and save this article for later with the image below!baby sleep through night Continue Reading…

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What It Means When I Say, “My Husband Comes Before My Kids”

my husband comes before my kids 2“My husband comes before my kids.”

Have you heard someone say that before? I’m sure you have. And I’m guessing that when you hear that statement, you either nod your head in agreement or you are extremely confused by it. You might even think the people saying it are crazy and/or bad moms.

Well, in my life, this statement is true (or at least, I strive for it to be). When asked the order of my priorities in life, this is how it goes: God, my husband, and then, my kids. Yes, I’m one of those women. And I’m fairly certain that 99% of people who think I’m crazy for saying this have no idea what I actually mean by it. 

So, just to clear up any confusion, let me explain exactly what it means when I say “My Husband Comes Before My Kids.”

It means that for the 18+ years that my kids are living in my house, I will continue to prioritize and invest time into my marriage relationship. It’s the difference between saying “we’ll have time together again one day” and “how can we have time together, TODAY?

And it’s not just that.

Putting my husband first means that I will not pursue or invest time into anything that could permanently hurt or negatively impact our relationship. So when making decisions for our family, we ask, will this negatively impact my marriage in any way? If the answer is ‘yes’ or even ‘maybe,’ then we don’t pursue it. Anything that hurts my marriage will ultimately hurt my kids.

For example, if we are contemplating whether or not to sign little Susie Q up for her third extra-curricular activity, and we know that between Jackie’s basketball practice, and Susie’s soccer games and dance classes, my husband and I will already barely have time to exchange glances throughout the week, then we will say “no.” If it will cause us to neglect our marriage, then it’s not worth it. Sure, Susie would have enjoyed that art class, but in the long run, she will benefit more from happy parents who communicate well and find time to love on one another more than cranky parents who are slowly growing further and further apart.

Therefore, in this scenario, I put what was best for my husband and I before what may have seemed “best” for my kid at the time.

Let me put it this way. Imagine your family is a house. You and your husband are the foundation, and your kids are the rooms. What good would it do to keep the rooms super clean and tidy if the foundation is crumbling? And vice versa, it wouldn’t make any sense to have a strong and beautiful foundation with decrepit, neglected rooms inside. All parts of the house are important. But at the end of the day, if the foundation crumbles, the rooms go with it. We must secure the foundation before we worry about decorating the rooms.

What it DOESN’T mean: Putting my husband before my kids doesn’t mean I neglect my kids in any way or somehow treat my husband like a child. It doesn’t mean I always serve my husband’s dinner plate first, that I leave my young children unsupervised in the living room because my husband yelled for me, or that I constantly drop everything for him.

Putting your husband first is about saving a little of yourself each day for him. Maybe some days you won’t do so well. Maybe some weeks and months will be harder than others. But at the end of the day, instead of saying “oh well, it can wait,” you run to the calendar and you pencil in a date night. And then? You make darn well SURE it happens. You don’t let yourself get so busy with life and kids that you throw your marital relationship to the wayside. It’s about making sure that after your kids are grown, you don’t wake up one day and find yourself staring across the breakfast table at a complete stranger. It’s about holding true to your vows to love each other even when it’s not easy or convenient (and remembering that love is a choice, not a feeling, which plays out in our actions). It’s about remembering that you were a wife before you were a mommy. It’s about growing and learning and actually doing life TOGETHER, including the parenting husband comes before my kidsSo, why must I make a conscious effort to prioritize my husband? Well, let’s be honest, it’s easy to love your kids. You birthed them. They are a part of you. Your spouse, on the other hand, isn’t always as easy to love. The relationship with your husband is one you chose. It doesn’t always come as naturally. Life gets in the way. KIDS get in the way. So that is why it is so important to continue to make the effort to uphold your vows, day after day, even when it’s not convenient. Even in those years when it would be easy  to let kids take over your world. Because you made a covenant. You promised your husband, and more importantly, God, that you would love your husband through all that life had to bring, including kids.

And when you love your husband well, you will reap the benefits. In my house, when our marriage is strong, our family is strong. We make wiser, more sound decisions as a couple. My kids feel safe, secure, comfortable, and loved. They learn balance. They learn what a healthy relationship looks like. When my husband and I thrive, so do our kids.

At the end of the day, when you do what is best for your relationship with your husband, you are doing what is best for your entire family.

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